February 5, 2016

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Sign Up for the PFI Standards Program Webinar on Feb. 17

PFI hopes you will join us for a webinar on the PFI Standards Program on Wednesday, February 17, at 1pm EST/10am PST. The webinar is open to all pellet fuels manufacturers, as well as retailers and stove manufacturers.

The EPA's New Source Performance Standards, finalized last year, require stove manufacturers to test and certify stoves using fuel from one of three graded fuel programs, including the PFI Standards Program. Newly certified or recertified stoves are required to include language in their user manuals that the warranty will not be valid unless the customer uses graded fuel. 

Webinar participants will learn more about the EPA's requirements for stove manufacturers. Pellet fuel and stove retailers will learn how to identify the Quality Mark, which signifies a product from a company qualified by the Standards Program, as well as how to answer customers' questions about graded fuel.

Pellet fuels manufacturers will learn about the many benefits of joining the Standards Program, from cutting costs to improving fuel consistency. Speakers will also discuss recent changes to the program, among them a reduction in testing frequency requirements.

Webinar speakers will include John Shimek, SVP of Product Development for Hearth & Home Technologies; John Crouch, Director of Public Affairs for Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association; Chris Wiberg, Lab Director, Timber Products Inspection; and Jennifer Hedrick, Executive Director, Pellet Fuels Institute.

To register for the program, please visit PFI's website. Please encourage your contacts to sign up as well. 


Contact Carrie Annand at [email protected] for more information.


PFI Standards Program Qualifies Michigan Wood Fuels, Trae Fuels, and Spearfish Pellet Company 

In recent weeks, the PFI Standards Program has added three qualified companies: Michigan Wood Fuels in Holland, MI; Trae Fuels in Bumpass, VA; and Spearfish Pellet Co. in Spearfish, SD.

These companies have established a QA/QC program, are subject to regular testing by an outside auditor, and may display the PFI Quality Mark on their bags, indicating that they meet the specifications outlined in the PFI Standards Program.

To see the full list of qualified companies and facilities, please visit PFI's website


PFI Welcomes New Members

PFI would like to welcome the following new members to the association in 2016:

  • Asian Institute of Technology
  • Biotech Energy
  • Enviva
  • Flamex Inc.
  • Godfrey Lumber Company
  • InstantHeat Wood Pellets
  • Mallard Creek Inc.
  • Shaw Resources 

Membership in PFI affords you and your businesses opportunities throughout the year. Members may serve on one of numerous PFI committees, receive information on pertinent federal legislative and regulatory action, and discounts to a number of PFI or PFI-supported events. Interested in joining PFI in 2016, but haven't made the leap? It's not too late! Visit our website to check out our member benefits and join today

Register for Breakfast & Biomass in New Orleans, LA

PFI welcomes all attending the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Expo to join us for our annual event, Breakfast & Biomass: A Briefing on the Pellet Market. Join us for a full breakfast, networking opportunities, and to hear about the latest trends and issues of importance to all involved in the industry. Breakfast & Biomass will be held on Friday, March 18, 2016 at 7:30am in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Please visit PFI's website for more information on how to register for the $35 breakfast. 

If you are planning to attend Expo, you're encouraged to book your hotel room soon. Hotel accommodations can be made on the Expo website.

EPA Sets Date for Biomass Workshop; PFI Submits Comments to the EPA on the Clean Power Plan

Last week, EPA announced that it will hold its workshop on the role of biomass in the Clean Power Plan (CPP) on April 7, 2016 in Washington, DC. The agenda has not yet been announced, but the agency has invited stakeholders of all types - government, industry and NGOs - to participate in the workshop on how to incorporate bioenergy into the Clean Power Plan's State Implementation Plans. PFI will be participating in the workshop and you are encouraged to do so as well. To register to attend, please visit the EPA's website.

This announcement comes on the heels of the agency's January 21 deadline to submit comments on the CPP's proposed federal plan, which will serve as the model plan for carbon emissions reductions for states that do not develop their own plans. A number of trade groups, including PFI, and other affected stakeholders submitted comments in response to EPA's proposal.

EIA Data Collection Underway

Over the last year we've reported on the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) new initiative to collect data on the densified biomass industry. In December EIA began notifying densified biomass producers of impending data collection efforts and we've been told that this outreach continues.

Two weeks ago EIA provided an update to PFI for inclusion in the Pellet Wire.  We're providing this information again, below, so that you may be aware of EIA's efforts to contact you and their overall timeline for this initiative.

The following was submitted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration for inclusion in the January 8 Pellet Wire.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) began development of a densified biomass survey in 2014 following multiple requests from the public and private sector for the agency to improve its coverage of wood-based energy. The development process included numerous discussions with pellet manufacturers, trade associations, and federal and state government agencies. The formal approval steps included two public comment processes in 2015 followed by final authorization by the Office of Management and Budget. 

As finalized, the EIA-63C Densified Biomass Fuel Report is a mandatory survey of manufacturers of densified biomass fuel products in the U.S. The production and sales data collected will be treated as confidential at the company level. Publication will be at an aggregate level sufficient to protect the identity of the individual respondents. EIA has decades of experience in protecting business-sensitive data, such as oil, natural gas, and coal prices.

EIA is tasked by federal law to collect and publish comprehensive energy information that meets the needs of business, the public, and government. EIA was established by the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 and assumed responsibility for collection and publication of data on, for example, oil supplies, coal prices, electricity sales, energy imports and exports, and many other aspects of U.S. energy markets. See http://www.eia.gov/.

Data collection will be conducted on the Internet, and is expected to begin on or about February 1, 2016. Respondents were first notified with an initial email on December 22, 2015. EIA will be contacting each biomass fuel manufacturer during January with more information about how to log onto the EIA web portal to access the electronic survey. Additionally, four informational webinars will be held on January 20, 21, 27 and 28 with time for your questions and answers.  Registration instructions for the webinars were included in the initial email on December 22. 

If you did not receive the initial email, please contact EIA at [email protected] or call 1-855-EIA-4USA (1-855-342-4872) Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM ET. A copy of the form and instructions are available on the EIA web site at http://www.eia.gov/survey/#eia-63c.

Upcoming Industry Events

February 24-26, 2016 : World Sustainable Energy Days 2016

March 18, 2016
: Breakfast & Biomass

March 30-April 1, 2016
: Northeast Biomass Heating Expo

April 5-7, 2016
: Argus Biomass 2016

April 11-14, 2016
: International Biomass Conference & Expo 2016

June 6-9, 2016
: European Biomass Conference & Exhibition

June 15-17, 2016
: International Bioenergy Conference

July 24-26, 2016
: PFI Annual Conference

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Fuel Availability

Are you a PFI member pellet manufacturer or distributor that has fuel available? Email [email protected] to have your listing updated or added to the PFI website.

Industry News

Heating practices changing bit by bit
Plattsburgh NY Press Republican
Some people remember the good old days when a coal truck home-delivered tons of the black chunks that were burned to keep people warm. Something similar could be coming to the Adirondacks as wood pellet trucks start making deliveries. Project Manager Leslie Karasin of the Northern Forest Centers Saranac Lake office says that day is here.

She's endorsing a project called the Adirondack Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative. Municipalities can apply to join the program, she said, with the Town of Westport one of the first to put in an application. An application from the Town of Bellmont in Franklin County has been approved and installation should start in a couple of months.

Read the Full Article

Working Lands fund supports jobs
Rutland Herald
We often hear politicians, economists, and diner customers talking about economic development and what needs to happen to create jobs. Rarely do any of the ideas put forth result in measurable outcomes in the form of jobs that pay a living wage and cant be sent to other countries.

The Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is a rare exception. Developed right here in Vermont by people who value our working landscape and want to keep it productive and healthy, this initiative has produced remarkable results in a very short amount of time.

Read the Full Article

Enviva wood pellet plant set to open in 2017
Richmond County Daily Journal
Construction on the long-awaited Enviva Biomass wood pellet plant should begin later this year, a company representative told the Richmond County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Glen Gray, project sponsor for the proposed sites in Richmond and Sampson counties, said the company just recently passed a major hurdle and is moving forward.

Gray added that the N.C. Division of Environment and Natural Resources reported there was "overwhelming support" for Enviva's project in Richmond County.

Read the Full Article

Please help: important industry survey
Biomass Magazine 
I'd like to ask each of you to be on the lookout for an email from Katie Fletcher, associate editor at Pellet Mill Magazine. Yesterday Katie sent an email to every pellet facility in North America with a link to an industry survey that will serve as the centerpiece of our March/April issue, dedicated entirely to domestic and foreign heating markets. For the survey to offer any value to our readers, I'd like to ask each of you (or your designee) spend the three minutes it takes to complete the survey.

The survey is open only to producers and individual answers are anonymous and confidential. The results of the survey will be shared, but only in aggregate. If you did not receive a link to the survey and aren't aware of anyone on your team receiving the link, send us and email and well be happy to get you one. 

Read the Full Article

Senate looks to classify biomass as renewable, carbon neutral
An energy bill that hit the floor of the U.S. Senate this week could provide assistance to the biomass energy industry.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine are backing an amendment that supports the classification of biomass as a renewable resource a move thats drawing fire from some environmental groups.

The Senate is debating a broad energy policy bill, the first in almost a decade. It includes an amendment written by Collins and co-sponsored by King that would require federal agencies to recognize energy from forest biomass generators as carbon neutral.

Read the Full Article



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